Tag Archives: Jalen Leighton

Kelley Serves as Burbank’s Cross Country Victory

The Burbank High boys’ and girls’ cross country teams had visions of Pacific League titles in 2019.

Those visions didn’t produce any plaques to put in the school’s trophy case as Crescenta Valley won a pair of league titles Thursday at Arcadia County Park.

But what Burbank did come away with was something far more important than any league title.

The Bulldogs had the benefit of having Mckynzee Kelley. Kelley won the individual competition in the last league meet and would have been a favorite to win the Pacific League individual title. But on Thursday she finished 24th.
Kelley had just been cleared to run a day earlier after having missed the past week and a half following an incident that she was fortunate enough to live and tell. As she and friends were driving on Glenoaks Blvd. returning from her school’s Homecoming Dance, a driver suspected of being on drugs plowed into them. That driver was later arrested.

“I was happy that I was able to run with the girls and the team. I wanted to be there for them more than anything,” Kelley said. “I got a bruised lung and I hurt my back. I was really sore, so I was out for a week and a half.”

Burbank still finished second in the team standings with 42 points. CV won with 29. Burroughs was fourth with 98 points.

Burbank junior Megan LaCamera finished fourth overall, covering the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, 8.9 seconds.

Junior Elin Markarian followed in 18:17.2 for fifth place and Burbank junior Zoe Zeron was eighth in 18:40.0.
Burroughs junior Jordan Guzman was ninth in 18:41.6.

Burbank junior Noela Kim was 12th in 18:59.8 Senior Sol Fernandez was 13th in 19:00.0.  Kelley finished in 19:47.7 and Burbank senior Cynthia Movsisian was 28th in 20:24.

For Burroughs, junior Kiara Cruz (18th, 19:21.4), senior Taylor Lombardo (22nd, 19:30.6), junior Briana Contreras (23rd, 19:44.8), senior Ceci Whitney (26th, 19:53.8), junior Patrycja Maciak (27th, 20:11.6) and junior Kaia Mouser (29th, 20:26.4) round out the rest of the squad.

In the boys’ varsity competition, finished second with 46 points, behind Crescenta Valley’s 36.

Burroughs finished fourth with 108.
Burbank junior Andres Leon finished fourth in 14:44.2. Senior Victor Goli followed in 14:44.6. Senior Dayne Ellis (eighth, 14:57.1), senior Anthony Chiaravalle (10th, 15:03.8), junior Tyler Jenkins (19th, 15:37.5), senior Steven Wright (21st, 15:38.8) and senior Tadeh Shanzari (27th, 15:56.5) round out the rest of the team.
“We trained for four years for things like this. It hurts that we’re not going to get that league title but it just wasn’t our day,” Ellis said. “We can still come back. We’re really looking forward to that state meet. We haven’t been there and this group of guys wants to get there.”

Burroughs was led by sophomore Mason Ortega, who took 17th in 15:31.2. Senior Trevor Villagran followed in 15:34.0.

Senior Robert McGraham (22nd, 15:39.0), junior Jimmy Nealis (25th, 15:48.0), senior Logan Berger (26th, 15:49.1), sophomore Jalen Leighton (29th, 16:01.7) and sophomore Chase Eldridge (32nd, 16:14.1) round out the rest of the Indians.

All four local teams have advanced to CIF competition and will run next weekend at Riverside Community College.

 

Crescenta Valley Cross Country Wins Battle Over Burbank

The Burbank High cross country teams knew things would be close with Crescenta Valley High Thursday in the second Pacific League meet at Crescenta Valley Park.

What the Bulldogs didn’t know how strong this group of Falcons would be on their own home course.

The Falcons defeated Burbank 39-48 on the boys’ varsity side. It was even closer in the girls’ competition, as CV outlasted Burbank 35-36.

Burbank junior Mckynzee Kelley won by finishing the three-mile course in 18 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

“I was happy with how it went,” Kelley said of her race. “We were hoping we could get first, but we’re happy with second. We’re looking forward to (League Finals at) Arcadia because it counts as two meets. We know what to expect now.”

Junior Megan La Camera finished third (19:14.9) as all five scorers for the Bulldogs were members of the class of 2021.

Zoe Zeron (eighth, 19:51.2), Elin Markarian (10th, 19:58.2) and Noela Kim (14th, 20:08) also scored. Seniors Sol Fernandez (20th, 20:49.4) and Cythia Movsisian (24th, 21:14.8) also had solid efforts.

Burroughs High finished third in the girls’ team standings with 89 points.

Junior Jordan Guzman led the way for the Indians by taking seventh in 19:48.

Senior Ceci Whitney (12th, 20:05.5), senior Taylor Lombardo (22nd, 20:54.8), junior Briana Contreras (21:00.6), junior Kiara Cruz (25th, 21:27.0), junior Patrycja Maciak (26th, 21:40.2) and senior Samantha Hoxsie (29th, 22:35.6) round out the Indians.

In the boys’ varsity competition, CV’s Dylan Wilbur, who is one of the best in the state, won in 15:19.9. Burbank was led by Victor Goli, who finished sixth in 15:45.1. He was followed by junior teammate Andres Leon (15:46.0). Senior Dayne Ellis followed by taking eighth in 15:55.3.

Senior Anthony Chiaravalle (11th, 16:08.6), senior Tadeh Shanazari (1th, 16:26.8), senior Steven Wright (16:39) and junior Tyler Jenkins (17:03.3) round out the Bulldogs.
“We know CV runs this course like 24/7, so this is their strong point,” Goli said. “Today was kind of like a practice meet for us. We’re going to try to kill it for league finals in three weeks.”

Burroughs finished fourth with 113 points, but was actually quite impressive by having a solid pack that was less than 50 seconds difference between its first and last runner.

Junior Jimmy Nealis led the way by taking 18th (16:29.1). Senior Robert McGraham (22nd, 16:35.2), senior Trevor Villargran (25th, 16:47.5), senior Logan Berger (28th, 17:04.1), sophomore Jalen Leighton (17:13.7), and sophomore Chase Eldridge (31st, 17:17.7) round out Burroughs.

Burbank Cross Country Ready for Big Year

It is no secret that local cross country teams are continually competitive year in and year out.
But this year figures to a special one for the Burbank High boys’ team. There is no telling how good the Bulldogs can be. They return all seven of their varsity runners from league finals from a year ago and if healthy should finish their season in Fresno at the California State Championships. As hard as it might be to believe, Burbank’s boys’ team has actually never been to the state meet.

Burroughs, which won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys’ title in 2014, isn’t far behind.
Both the Burbank and Burroughs girls’ teams figure to fight for the Pacific League title after finishing first and second a year ago.

Burbank

The Bulldog boys’ team is looking to be healthy this year after struggling with that aspect a year ago.  The Bulldogs open the season ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preseason poll. In track season, there were five Bulldogs who broke the 10-minute barrier in the 3,200 meters. This would be comparable to a starting five in basketball that all average in double figures in points.

Senior Victor Goli is coming off a fine track season after he was sick much of last cross country season.  Goli ran 4 minutes, 23.4 seconds in the 1,600 and 9:25.58 in the 3,200. Junior Andres Leon is running right alongside him. He went 4:26.81 and 9:42.18 as a sophomore.

Burbank High’s Victor Goli at the finish line last season.

Seniors Dayne Ellis (9:46.29), Anthony Chiaravalle (9:55.97) and Tadeh Shanazari (9:57.59) all went under 10 minutes in track. Senior Steve Wright (10:10.39) was not far behind. Junior Mher Matevosyan, who is a middle distance specialist, will also be in the running for a varsity spot. Matevosyan went 1:58.59 for 800 meters as a sophomore and 4:38.35 in the 1,600. Fellow junior Tyler Jenkins (4:42.05 and 10:07.77) should also see some time on varsity.

Senior Andrew Uhm and sophomore Damon Lovelace are also fighting for a spot on varsity.

“In a league with so many talented athletes and such knowledgeable, successful coaches, we always make it our goal to be in the top three and this year is no different,” Burbank coach Kathryn Nelson said. “We hope to advance our boys team into the CIF Finals and take a shot at making the State Meet this year.”

The Burbank girls’ team is coming off of a league championship season. The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 9 in the CIF Division 1 preseason poll, were hit hard by graduation. However, they are still deep and should still be in contention for another league title.

Sol Fernandez is back for her senior year.  She ran 5:18.1 in the 1,600 last spring in track and 11:24.3 in the 3,200.

Sol Fernandez

Junior Mckynzee Kelley was the Pacific League frosh-soph champion in the 1,600, going 5:25.38.  Kelley (11:35.3 in 3,200). Elin Markarian (11:34.00 in the 3,200) was the frosh-soph league champion in cross country last year. Fellow juniors Megan LaCamera (12:19.49 as a freshman), Noela Kim (12:03.51), and Zoe Zeron (12:45.48) figure to play key roles on the varsity.
Senior Cynthia Movsisian (12:36.4 in 3,200), sophomore Kyalin Abarabar (13:12.92 in 3,200), senior Izzy Bittencourt (13:12.19 in 3,200) and freshman Joanna Camacho are also fighting for a varsity spot.

“We have a good group of juniors moving up to support Sol but staying healthy will be key,” Nelson said. “We have a very hard working class of freshman girls and we are excited to watch them grow in the program. Joanna Camacho has already broken into the top 10 coming out of summer and Clara Kim is not far behind.”

Burroughs

The Indians will be solid with the boys and girls teams.

Junior Jordan Guzman, who finished sixth in the Pacific League finals last year, will lead the way. Senior Ceci Whitney, who finished eighth in league, is also back. Sophomore Sophia Navarro, who was 10th in league finals, gives the Indians a solid top three.

Jordan Guzman of Burroughs

Sophomore Savannah Hernandez (12:14.6 in 3,200) will probably will the role of being fourth. Juniors Briana Contreras (12:46.45 in 3,200) and Kiara Cruz (27th in cross country league finals last year) should give the Indians enough to be serious league contenders.

Seniors Taylor Lombardo, Samanatha Hoxsie and junior Kaia Mouser are also in contention for spots on varsity.

“We need to work on closing the gap between our top seven runners,” Burroughs coach John Peebles said. “They are working hard and it is a long season, but we have to simply focus on getting better one day at a time.”

The Burroughs boys team is one that might surprise some people because they are quite good, even though everyone is looking at Crescenta Valley and Burbank. The Indians might actually be a year away from being the team to beat in league.

Junior Julian Largaespada was the Pacific League’s frosh-soph champion in the 1,600 (4:36.37).

Junior Jimmy Nealis (4:41.21 in 1,600) is also capability of big things.

Seniors Logan Berger (10:10.29 in the 3,200 in league finals), Trevor Villagran (10:18.30) and  Robert McGraham (10:46.46) are all solid veterans.

Sophomore Mason Ortega (4:50.62 in 1,600 in Buroughs-Burbank dual meet),  sophomore Jalen Leighton (4:54.49 in 1,600 in Burroughs-Burbank dual meet) and sophomore Chase Eldridge (hurdler, middle distance runner in track) will also battle for a spot on varsity.

“The boys are really working on the concept of pack running,” Peebles said.  “The path to success for the boys will be getting the pack to go together.”

Burbank Sharp in First Jeff Nelson Invitational

It took nearly 40 years after Jeff Nelson left his footprint at Burbank High as arguably the greatest American high school distance runner ever to have a race named in his honor.

Saturday, Nelson as well as his high school coaches, Dave Kemp and Frank Kallem were on hand for the first Jeff Nelson Cross Country Invitational on a newly created 3-mile course at Griffith Park.

The host Bulldogs didn’t disappoint in front of Nelson, who is close to the program since his wife, Kathryn, is one of the Bulldogs’ coaches.

Burbank High’s Victor Goli at the finish line.

“Jeff is super close to us, so to have a meet hosted in his name and for us to do that well in our first impression for the season, I feel it is a great start for us to get motivated. Our main goal this year is to get a league title and then move up to postseason stuff,” Burbank’s top runner, Victor Goli, said.

Burbank finished second in both the boys and girls competitions, losing only to former Foothill League rival Saugus. Saugus has been one of the top programs in California over the past decade.

Saugus won with a score of 25 points. Burbank was second with 36 points. Burroughs, which kept its elite frosh-soph runners down in a race of that grade level, finished 6th with 147.

Jacob Kaufmann of Saugus won the race in 16 minutes, 3 seconds. Goli was second in 16:16.

Jeff Nelson (middle) with his high school coaches, Dave Kemp, left, and Frank Kallem, right.

Burbank sophomore Andres Leon was fifth in 16:20. Juniors Tadeh Shanazari (eighth, 16:42), Dayne Ellis (14th, 17:04) and Anthony Chiaravalle (16th, 17:09) round out the top five. Senior Jahir Olvera was 20th in 17:22 and junior Steven Wright (30th, 17:45).

Burroughs was led by senior Carlos Ponce (19th, 17:13). He was followed by juniors Robert McGraham (26th, 17:41) and Logan Berger (29th, 17:46). Seniors Patrick Suarez (54th, 18:59) and Peter Lainson (61st, 19:10) round out the top five for the Indians.

The girls’ varsity race was won by Mia Barnett of Village Christian in 19:12. Saugus won the team competition with 33 points. Burbank was second with 64. Burroughs did not field a full team as many top runners ran in the lower level divisions.

Burbank senior Shalom Mejia was second in 19:44.

“It is amazing how the invitational was named after Jeff Nelson and he is really inspirational to all of us. I’m glad we were able to have our own invitational here,” Mejia said. “I personally like this course. When I was racing I knew when to speed up, when to slow down.”

Also for Burbank were junior Sol Fernandez (13th, 20:17), sophomore Noela Kim (18th, 20:56), senior Natalie Danao (20th, 20:58), sophomore Mckynzee Kelley (21st, 21:00), senior Jamie Levin (22nd, 21:02), sophomores Megan LaCamera (24th, 21:16) and Elin Markarian (25th, 21:20).

Burroughs was led by junior Ceci Whitney (11th, 20:15). Seniors Julianna Navarro (17th, 20:49) and Lakely Nealis (30th, 21:58) were also impressive.

Burroughs showed it is still very strong by its performance  in the frosh-soph boys’ race with sophomore Jimmy Nealis taking second (17:49).

Freshmen Jalen Leighton (third, 17:49) and Mason Ortega (fourth, 17:50) were right behind. Xander Penaflor, another freshman, was ninth in 18:22. Tyler Jenkins (10th, 18:23) was Burbank’s top runner in the race.

In the frosh-soph girls’ race, Burroughs was led by freshman Sophia Navarro (third, 21:31). Alongside her in fourth (21:31) was sophomore Jordan Guzman.

Burbank sophomore Gabrianna Bass was fifth (21:31), and fellow Bulldog sophomore Zoe Zeron was seventh (21:23).

Full meet results can be seen at finishedresults.com